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SOLVED! How to clean o2 sensor?

The oxygen sensor plays an important part in helping the emission control system of your car. As the oxygen sensor has accumulated some dirt over time, it may be cleansed by removing it from your vehicle.

Thereby, we created this article to discuss the three phases of Cleaning an Oxygen Sensor. Make sure to read all details below to effectively succeed.

Phase 1: Find the Oxygen Sensor

Wear Protective Gears

Since you will be handling automotive parts and gasoline which could be messy at times. It is important to wear protective equipment such as gloves, face shields, or goggles to avoid potential accidents.

How to clean o2 sensor1

For the gloves and goggles, make sure to purchase an appropriate one that is used by most mechanics, not the kitchen gloves or fashion glasses.

Raise the Car

The oxygen sensor is located underneath the vehicle. To access it, the vehicle must be elevated first using a car jack.

Before anything else, the car should be set on “Park” mode. And the emergency brake must also be activated before raising the car so it will not suddenly move while you are working.

Next is assembling your equipment. Either borrow or purchase a new car jack from an auto shop nearby. Ensure to report the model, size, and capacity of the vehicle to have an accurate product.

Position the jack below the chassis as well as the side of the car frame. Disconnect the battery and other electrical sensors like oxygen sensors to avoid being electrocuted.

Lastly, make sure that the vehicle is cooled down before touching. If the related pipes of the oxygen sensor are hot, your hands might get burned when cleaning.

Pinpoint the Oxygen Sensor

The exact location of the oxygen sensor typically depends on the vehicle’s model. Get your manual and scan their location.

Normally, there are at least two existing oxygen sensors. One from the front catalytic converter and the exhaust manifold. The more exhaust manifolds you have, the more oxygen sensors are there.

Now, to recognize an oxygen sensor, you should remember that it resembles a spark plug of about 2 inches (5m) size.
If you observe the shape, it is hexagonal at one end which can be wrenched. And the opposite end is threaded to be screwed into the vehicle.

Removing the Oxygen Sensor

Phase 2: Removing the Oxygen Sensor

Spray the Sensors

Since the sensors are rarely removed, they are probably stuck and need to loosen up. Use a lubricant like WD-40, spray it to the sensors, and leave it for about 10 to 15 minutes, then you can easily remove the sensors.

Prepare the Gasoline

While the lubricant is doing its job, get a bucket suitable for carrying gasoline. Fill the container with gasoline, then place it near the vehicle.

Unscrew the Oxygen Sensors from their Housing

In the previous part, the oxygen sensors and their screw threads should be well lubricated to easily loosen them using a wrench. Refer to a local store to purchase the right size of wrench.

Once the sensors are removed, avoid placing them on soiled surfaces. Get a sheet, container, or any clean spot.

how to Cleaning the Oxygen Sensor

Phase 3: Cleaning the Oxygen Sensor

Soak the Sensors in the Gasoline

After removing the sensors, soak them in the prepped gasoline container.

Ensure that the sensors are properly soaked. Be cautious while handling gasoline, do not hold or use any flammable material match or lighter.

Put a cover on the container to avoid spilling and most importantly to prevent it from catching fire and guarantee your safety.

Soak the Sensors Overnight

Leave the sensors immersed in the gasoline overnight or at least 8 hours to make sure that it is fully cleansed by the gasoline.

You may swirl the covered container to make sure that all parts are soaked and cleansed.

Dry the Sensors

After soaking overnight, get the sensors off the container. As you could observe, the sensors are cleaner than yesterday.

Use a clean cotton cloth and wipe the remaining gasoline from the sensors until it is fully dry. You can wear a pair of rubber gloves to avoid contact with the gasoline.

Reinstall the Sensors

Next to drying all the oxygen sensors, it is time to reinstall them to your vehicle. Just like in removing the sensors, use an accurate size wrench and screw it back to their places.

Then, lower the car jack to also bring the vehicle back to the surface. Finally, try turning on your vehicle and see if the “check engine” light is already off.


Cleaning the oxygen sensor may consume some of your time, but if you are not ready to do this kind of work, better bring your car to an expert and let them manage the problem.

Overall, cleaning the sensor should only be occasional because the engine might get damage if an unsafe cleaner is put through.

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